Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Avoidance behaviour of Asterias rubens to extracts of Mytilus edulis, solutions of bacteriological peptone, and selected amino acids


The effect of some homogenates, peptones and amino acids upon the positive rheotactic behaviour of Asterias rubens L. is studied. It was found that homogenates of Mytilus edulis, solutions of bacteriological peptone L 37, L-glutamic acid and a mixture of 10 common amino acids acted as “repellents” and altered the positive rheotactic behaviour of A. rubens. The experimental evidence suggests that the active compound(s) of the homogenates of M. edulis and of the solution of L 37 is a heat stable substance whose molecular weight is lower than ca. 30,000. It was found that A. rubens sensed L-glutamic acid in concentrations of the part per million range. Sinergistic interaction was found between L-glutamic acid and a mixture of one or more other 9 common amino acids. It is shown that the sensitivity of A. rubens to one of the “repellents”, bacteriological peptone L 37, changes during the year. Among other factors, seasonal changes in sea-water temperature could account for this.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Literature cited

  1. Blake, J. W.: Oxygen consumption of bivalve prey and their attractiveness to the gastropod, Urosalpinx cinerea. Limnol. Oceanogr. 5, 273–280 (1960).

  2. Carr, W. E. S.: Chemoreception in the mud snail, Nassarius obsoletus. I. Properties of stimulatory substances extracted from shrimp. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 133, 90–105 (1967).

  3. Castilla, J. C.: Responses of Asterias rubens to bivalve prey in a Y-maze. Mar. Biol. 12, 222–228 (1972).

  4. — and D. J. Crisp: Responses of Asterias rubens to olfactory stimuli. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 50, 829–847 (1970).

  5. Castilla, J. C. and D. J. Crisp: Responses of Asterias rubens L. to water currents and their modification by certain environmental factors. (In preparation).

  6. Chaet, A. B.: The gamete-shedding substances of starfishes: a physiological-biochemical study. Am. Zool. 6, 263–271 (1966).

  7. Copeland, M.: The olfactory reactions and organs of the marine snails Alectrion obsoleta (Say) and Busycon canaliculatum (Linn). J. exp. Zool. 25, 177–227 (1918).

  8. Craig, L. C., T. P. King and A. Stracher: Some experiments dealing with the problem of selectivity. J. Am. chem. Soc. 65, 3729–3737 (1957).

  9. Crisp, D. J.: Chemoreception in cirripedes. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 133, 128–140 (1967).

  10. — and P. S. Meadows: Adsorbed layers: the stimulus to settlement in barnacles. Proc. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 158, 364–387 (1963).

  11. — and G. B. Williams: The effect of extracts from fucoids in promoting settlement of epiphytic polyzoa. Nature, Lond. 188, 1206–1207 (1960).

  12. Crisp, M.: Studies on the behaviour of Nassarius obsoletus (Say) (Mollusca, Gastropoda). Biol. bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 136, 355–373 (1969).

  13. Davenport, D., G. Camougis and J. F. Hickok: Analyses of the behaviour of commensals in host-factor. I. A hesioned polychaete and a pinnotherid crab. Anim. Behav. 8, 209–218 (1960).

  14. Feder, H. and A. M. Christensen: Aspects of asteroid biology. In: Physiology of Echinodermata, pp 87–127. Ed. by R. A. Boolootian, New York: Interscience 1966.

  15. Federighi, H.: Studies on the oyster drill (Urosalpinx cinerea Say). Bull. Bur. Fish., Wash. 47, 83–115 (1931).

  16. Fenchel, T.: Feeding biology of the sea-star Luidia sarsi Düben and Koren. Ophelia 2, 223–236 (1965).

  17. Frings, H. and C. Frings: Chemosensory bases of foodfinding and feeding in Aplysia juliana (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia). Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 128, 211–217 (1965).

  18. Gee, J. M.: Chemical stimulation of settlement in larvae of Spirorbis rupestris (Serpulidae). Anim. Behav. 13, 181–186 (1965).

  19. Hasler, A. D.: Guidepost of migrating fishes. Science, N.Y. 132, 785–792 (1960).

  20. — and W. J. Wisby: Discrimination of stream odors by fishes and its relation to parent stream behaviour. Am. Nat. 85, 223–238 (1951).

  21. Landenberger, D. E.: Studies on selective feeding in the Pacific starfish Pisaster in souther California. Ecology 49, 1062–1075 (1968).

  22. Laverack, M. S.: The antennular sense organs of Panulirus argus. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 13, 301–321 (1965).

  23. Levandowsky, M. and E. S. Hodson: Amino acid receptors in lobsters. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 16, 159–161 (1965).

  24. Loosanoff, V. L.: New advances in the study of bivalve larvae. Am. Scient. 42, 607–624 (1954).

  25. McLeese, D. W.: Detection of dissolved substances by the american lobster (Homarus americanus) and olfactory attraction between lobsters. J. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 27, 1371–1378 (1970).

  26. Ramsay, D. A.: Olfactory cues in migrating salmon. Science, N.Y. 133, 56 (1961).

  27. Ross, D. A. and L. Sutton: The response of the sea anemone Calliactis parasitica to shells of the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus. Proc. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 155, 266–281 (1961).

  28. Roswell, W.: Echinoderms of Connecticut. Bull. Conn. St. geol. nat. Hist. Surv. 19, 1–152 (1912).

  29. Ryan, E. P.: Pheromone: evidence in a decapod crustacean. Science, N.Y. 151, 340–341 (1966).

  30. Ryland, J. S.: Experiments on the selection of algal substrates by polyzoan larvae. J. exp. Biol. 36, 613–631 (1959).

  31. Sato, R., Y. Hiyama and T. Kajihara: The role of olfaction in return of chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta (Walbaum) to its parent stream. Proc. pan.-Pacif. Sci. Congr. (Tokyo) 7, (1966).

  32. Sizer, I. W.: Observations on the oyster drill with special reference to its movement and to the permeability of its egg case membrane. Unpublished Report, United States Bureau of Fisheries (1936) [from Blake, J. W.: Limnol. Oceanogr. 5, 273–280 (1960)].

  33. Tortonese, E.: Differenziazione geografica e superspecie nel genere Asterias (Echinodermata). Monitore zool. ital. 70–71, 212–221 (1963).

  34. Van Dongen, A.: The preference of Littorina obtusata for Fucaceae. Archs néerl. Zool. 11, 373–386 (1956).

  35. Wear, R. G.: Physiological and ecological studies on the bivalve mollusk Arthritica bifurca (Webster, 1908) living commensally with the tubicolous polychaete Pectinaria australis Ehlers, 1905. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 130, 141–149 (1966).

  36. Whittle, K. J. and M. Blumer: A predator-prey relationship. Sea stars-bivalves. The chemical basis of the response of Asterias vulgaris to Crassostrea virginica. A bioassay, its applications and the partial purification of an active extract. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, unpublished manuscript.

  37. Williams, G. B.: The effect of extracts of Fucus serratus in promoting the settlement of larvae of Spirorbis borealis (Polychaeta). J. mar. biol. Ass. U. K. 44, 397–414 (1964).

  38. Wood, L.: Physiological and ecological aspects of prey selection by the marine gastropod Urosalpinx cinerea (Prosobranchia: Muricidae). Malacologia 6, 267–320 (1968).

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Communicated by J. A. Petersen, São Paulo

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Castilla, J.C. Avoidance behaviour of Asterias rubens to extracts of Mytilus edulis, solutions of bacteriological peptone, and selected amino acids. Marine Biology 15, 236–245 (1972).

Download citation


  • Molecular Weight
  • Experimental Evidence
  • Active Compound
  • Seasonal Change
  • Peptone